Our Spotlight For March Is Laura Montgomery, Chief Executive Of Glasgow City Football Club

The route to this interview began in the dark days of lockdown when, profoundly moved by a tweet, I felt compelled to write a DM to its author. It is, therefore, my absolute pleasure – four years on – to bring you an interview with the author of that tweet – the phenomenon that is Laura Montgomery.

Laura began her career in sport as a player and co-founder of Glasgow City Football Club which has gone on to become Scotland’s most successful women’s football club of all time. She is now the club’s Chief Executive, a major advocate for women and equality in sport and one of the leading pioneers who has ensured that the popularity of women’s football is now at an all-time high.

If that weren’t enough, Laura is also – for deeply personal reasons – a powerful voice and campaigner in the fight for greater awareness of mental health issues.

I hope you find her words as fascinating and inspirational as I have.


Laura – welcome to the LBTQWomen Spotlight! Could you describe your role in one sentence for our members?
I run Glasgow City Football Club – Scotland’s most successful women’s football club, which I co-founded 25 years ago.

What excites you most about your role at Glasgow City?
Everything, everyday. It is so varied. If I had to pick one then I probably would say scouting a player who turns out to be a bit of a superstar.

Who or what has been your main inspiration in your career?
Championing women and girls, challenging misogyny and fighting for equality have always been my main drivers.

You were a pioneer in bringing women’s football to the fore when you co-founded Glasgow City (the most successful Scottish women’s side of all time) in 1998 and you were a top player in the team for 12 years. How do you feel about the long overdue leap that women’s football has now made into the mainstream?
It is a feeling of ‘about time’ in so many respects, as continuing to battle for equality is draining after so many years of the same arguments falling on deaf ears.

What remains still to be done? What challenges or frustrations do you still face and what are your aims and ambitions for the sport?
There are still so many. My fear for the women’s game is that we lose what makes us at times great – such as the accessibility and how relatable players are for young girls and their hugely important impact as great role models. I want us to continue the ability to thrive in commercial environments free from alcohol and gambling sponsorships as main sources of income. I want the game to grow but never for teams to take money just wherever they can get it if it detracts from the positive impact the game is having on society.

The money at the highest end of the men’s game is quite obscene and I wouldn’t want that for our game. Players would lose a sense of reality and a sense of how hard we all fought for the platform they now enjoy. The game needs to also be sustainable – so growth at the right rate is also important for longevity as a professional sport and for reaching as many people as possible.

What initiatives – generally, professionally, personally – are currently top of your agenda?
At the moment, we are working hard to try and have our own training centre and stadium where we can house our whole academy and first team and in general have the first ever women’s football only dedicated facilities in Scotland.

What do you see as the single biggest challenge that you (and/or your team) face in 2023-2024?
We play in a hugely competitive league against teams who are part of the biggest men’s clubs in Scotland, so that is always a challenge against their resources; but it is also an opportunity, as we remain the only club solely championing women and girls with clear and unwavering values.

What has been the highlight of your career?
We have had so many great moments as a club on the pitch and played in some fantastic fixtures particularly in the UEFA Women’s Champions League which I have enjoyed as a player (a long time ago) and also as Chief Executive. However, despite the numerous trophies and dramatic last minute wins that stick out, probably the best moment for me personally was when I was able to finally give up my ‘real’ job and do what I love full-time, which is running Glasgow City and actually getting paid for doing so. This happened in December 2020 when, after 22 years of running the club as a volunteer, I was able to do so as an employee.

As an openly gay woman in sport, how do you respond to/what are your feelings about the ongoing personal and institutionalised misogyny in the world of sport and generally?
This has been a personal crusade for a while and, although things are slowly getting better, we still have so far to go as the World Cup Final showed for women in football in particular. However, importantly, more women are speaking out and not accepting things just because they have always been that way and perhaps, even more significantly, more men are calling misogyny out too. 

How, when and why did you come out at work?
I have always been out at my football work. When I decided I was gay that was just who I was and it was very easy to be fully yourself in an open and inclusive environment which women’s football is. However, for my paid professional work, I am not sure I ever came out as such specifically. I never hid the fact my partner was a female when I was younger but then I also never deliberately shouted about it either. So, for example, my colleagues always knew, as you discuss with your colleagues what you did at the weekend etc but, if I was with an external company, I would never deliberately refer to having a female partner and – if anything – avoided it sometimes. This may have been more to do with the fact I was then in sales, with some very large contracts, and part of me would never have wanted to jeopardise the relationship I had with some customers, just in case. It’s not great reflecting on it now, but in reality that is how I felt at the time.

You have been open in your fight for better recognition and support for people with mental health issues following the tragic death of your partner, Kat, in 2019. What are the particular issues facing young people in our community and in sport in 2023/beyond – and what would you like to see change?
The challenges around poor mental health in society are huge. Our health care system is creaking at the seams on this issue as well as of course pretty much every other area – but, given 1 in 4 of us have challenges with our mental health, this shows how big an issue this is. Thankfully, there has been a tide of change, in that more people are coming forward and speaking about their struggles and I think more of us are also recognising the signs of poor mental health in others so hopefully help earlier can make a difference for a number of people.

But, in saying all this, the pressures for kids are huge. We all know the impact social media and peer pressure can have on children but it seems to be getting out of control. As much as technology has helped us in so many ways, the digital age to me has had more of a negative than positive impact on children if we look at mental health. Throw in the increasing levels of poverty and other negative experiences kids can face growing up and you can understand why we are where we are. How we stop it, truly I do not know.

What advice would you give to the younger you?
Life will throw you a number of challenges, but just continue to go forth and do what makes you happy with whoever makes you happy. You will then lead a life you would never change for a second.

What are your biggest challenges in achieving an optimal work/life balance?
I don’t think I can ever achieve an optimal work/life balance. It is one of my biggest failings and one thing I do wish I could change most about myself. I am very conscientious and, equally, so passionate about my work that I find it very hard to switch off and find that balance.  I am getting married later this year, so it is definitely on my agenda to try and change!

What are your favourite pastimes when you aren’t working?
Keeping fit, enjoying good food, prosecco and holidays with my partner. It would also really be football, but that is also work!

What is your favourite holiday place and why?
Tuscany, astoundingly beautiful with incredible food and wine.

What most influenced you when you were young?
Anything sporting, I was glued to it all and tried to copy it. I was also lucky enough to be at the Women’s World Cup Final in 1999 at the Rose Bowl in the States, which the USA famously won on penalties. There were over 90,000 at that game, whilst in Scotland no one was interested in watching women’s football. For the first time, I got a real glimpse of what just might be possible.

What you are reading currently and what is your favourite book of all time?
I really only get the chance to read on holiday these days, but I loved ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which I read when I was young. As an adult, ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ was one of the best books I have read on holiday. Currently, I am slowly getting through ‘The Promised Land’ by Barack Obama but, when I say slowly, it has been on my bedside table for about four years!

Which charities do you support and why?
I donate to the Tie Campaign every month, which is a charity in Scotland promoting inclusive education in schools.

How old were you when you had your first LBTQWoman kiss?
Old! Perhaps 18 or even 19.

What would you like to be if you didn’t do what you currently do?
Be in charge of James Bond.

What are the five words that best describe you?
Hardworking, determined, passionate, caring, leader.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Make the world an equal place for everyone.



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